March 21, 2012
Avalanche rookie does it all
By STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
CALGARY - In addition to playing in every key situation as a rookie — on the top line, the powerplay and penalty-kill units, four-on-four, in the last minute whether they’re up a goal or down one — Colorado Avalanche freshman Gabriel Landeskog has added other duties to his long list of responsibilities.
Like fetching a teammate’s false teeth.
When road roommate Erik Johnson left his partial plate in the hotel room in New Jersey earlier this month, Landeskog did him a favour and scooped them up — after taking a picture and posting it on Twitter, of course.
“I guess everyone’s seen that now,” Landeskog said with a grin after the morning skate Tuesday at the Pepsi Center before a game against the Calgary Flames. “It was funny. I made sure to ask him about it before I tweeted it. He’d actually forgotten them in the room, and he was already at the rink, so he wanted me to bring them to him. It was just a funny story.”
Jokes aside, the 19-year-old Landeskog is earning serious consideration for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.
His stiffest competition may be from the Edmonton Oilers’ Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — who was drafted first overall, one spot ahead of Landeskog, last June — but it’s tough to deny the impressive nature of the young Swede’s 20-plus goals, nearly 50 points and almost 200 hits along with his astounding plus-20 rating.
“What I tell people is very simple — that he plays in every situation for us,” said Avs’ head coach Joe Sacco. “He’s been a very consistent player for a 19-year-old. He’s mature beyond his years. That’s probably the biggest thing. He’s got a good grasp of what’s going on within the game and outside the game. It’s unique to see that from a 19-year-old.
“To me, he’s certainly been playing like he’s rookie of the year.”
ELBOW OF CONTENTION
It’s hard to believe Columbus Blue Jackets winger Jared Boll got off without so much as a slap on the wrist when it comes to his elbow to the head of the Flames’ Alex Tanguay on the weekend.
Then again, Curtis Glencross got away with his check to the numbers on Jason Demers’ back earlier this month, so maybe Brendan Shanahan is backing off his heavy-handed approach.
“I’m feeling great. Never felt any better,” Tanguay said sarcastically after the morning skate Tuesday. “No, my jaw’s pretty sore. My neck’s pretty sore. But that’s to be expected.”
Not expected was the lack of suspension.
“If you look at the play carefully from different angles, I mean, I think the league missed one on that,” said Tanguay, who made an effort to go around Boll to make a play on the puck. “We just got a video on not hitting guys from behind and stuff like that. He turns his back to the play, I do everything to get out of his way and still get to the puck and I get an elbow — a big elbow — right to the chops. For him not to get suspended, they must not have seen the angle that I saw.
“I think we’ve been preaching head-shots since the start of the year, and I think they clearly missed one there.
“But the decision’s not mine, and I’m not gonna worry about it too much. It’s out of my control.”
Earlier Tuesday I accidentally tweeted Matt Stajan in both the centre spot and right wing position, leaving Jarome Iginla out of the mix altogether. Turns out I might have been psychic. For the opening goal, Stajan sent a pass to the boards, and it bounced right back out to him in the slot, where he stuffed it through Semyon Varlamov’s legs. Stajan deserved two points ... Skipping his senior season at St. Cloud University, forward David Eddy signed with the Flames as an undrafted free agent Tuesday after scoring nine goals and 25 points in 39 games in the NCAA this year. His deal is a two-year, two-way contract worth $525,000 per season in the NHL ... With the return of RW Tim Jackman, RW Greg Nemisz was returned to the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat ... Cool to see players on both sides tapping their sticks on the ice for the ‘hero of the game’ military serviceman in attendance during a TV timeout.
On Twitter: @SUNMacfarlane